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Nicola Furlong Case: 19-Year-Old Guilty of Murder in Japan

Last updated on July 6, 2016


The family of Nicola Furlong feels justice has not been served after the 19-year-old American musician on trial in their daughter’s death was sentenced to 5-10 years with labor, less 120-days for time served in detention, for murder. This sentence is what the Prosecutor, Kenji Horikoshi, called for during the closing arguments of trial.

The reported:

“The presiding judge, Masayuki Ashizawa, described the crime as “atrocious and vicious” and said that the fact that Ms Furlong was “strangled with force for several minutes” showed murderous “intent.” The judge also said that Mr Hinds testimony was “not credible, had shown no sign of remorse and had tainted the honour of the victim.”

While harsher sentencing options were available, Judge Ashizawa said that “the tendency of sentencing in juvenile cases [means that] we can’t choose the death penalty or life imprisonment.”

Ms. Furlong’s 19-year-old sister had called for the death penalty. After hearing of the verdict she criticized the sentence as too short saying:

“I am so angry and I am so hurt, we had so much faith in the Japanese doing justice for us and I don’t feel we got it, I am disgusted.” “We will never know the truth as to what happened in that room because he just won’t ‘man up’ and tell us the truth.”

Black Tokyo previously calculated that the teen:“could also be sentenced under “manslaughter” guidelines and be sentenced to five or more years in prison. Life imprisonment and the death penalty were only options if he were to be sentenced as an adult.

The also reported that the friend of Nicola Furlong told the lay-jury:

“I have never taken drugs and because I have never become unconscious from alcohol the only reason I can think of is that someone put something into my drink.”

The reported: “But blood and urine tests on the friend did not show any trace of a date rape drug, and while Ms. Furlong’s blood tested positive for two drugs that have been implicated in date rape cases there was an innocent explanation for them.”

The Irish Times reported:

“But today’s verdict said the concentration of Alprazolam, the active ingredient in the anxiety suppressant Xanax, was “well below” the normal prescription range and could not have been a factor in Ms Furlong’s death.

“The victim was still breathing and her heart was still beating at the time she was being choked,” it said. “Death was caused by suffocation after strangulation by a towel or ligature. This is certain, based on common sense.”

The verdict accepted that Hinds had tried to help Ms Furlong after the strangulation but said this was “only natural” and “did not mitigate” the fact that he intended to murder her.
“The defendant knew that what he was doing was highly dangerous and could lead to death. [He] also knew what the results of his actions would be. It can be concluded that he intended to kill the victim.””

After expressing displeasure with the sentence given to convicted American, Nicola Furlong’s mother stated that once she is stronger…

“She will contact the lawyers and try and get further blood tests done to try to determine the substance that was put into the tequila that night and that has not yet shown up in laboratory analysis.

Click here for additional information on Black Tokyo’s reporting of the drugs found in Ms. Furlong’s system.

The following BT’ers contributed to BT’s reporting of the Nicola Furlong death investigation: @blacktokyo, @onmugen @starrwulfe @ogPegasus303

Have inquiries, an opinion or rant? Feel free to join the discussion via Disqus below.

Click here for additional Black Tokyo posts on the investigation into the death of Nicola Furlong.

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  1. Laura Grimes Laura Grimes March 20, 2013

    Please take race and nationality out of this as it does not belong and has absolutely no relevance to the case. A young woman was strangled to death and I am glad that the animal who did this is now behind bars. Can you imagine if this was your daughter, sister, mother etc. Too sad, my sincere sympathies are with Nicola Furlongs family, friends etc.

    • Zurui Zurui March 20, 2013

      Unless you have not read the press, unfortunately certain segments of the media made race and nationality an issue.

      To many expats in Japan, nationality is very much an issue here. The guilty (animals?) were not U.S. military members on trial. This type of case in Japan involving non-Japanese provides a very different insight into the criminal justice system.

      Again, our sympathies to all families impacted by this very senseless tragedy.

      • Alan Alan March 21, 2013

        Senseless murder(senseless tragedy?).Just wondering why you refer to this being a tragedy rather than a murder???

      • Zurui Zurui March 21, 2013

        In a nutshell, I know of no murder that made sense!

        See below for additional information:

        “A tragedy is an event in which one or more losses, usually of human life, occurs that is viewed as mournful. Such an event is said to be tragic.

        Not all death is considered to be a tragedy. Rather it is a precise set of symptoms surrounding the loss that define it as such. There are a variety of factors that define a death as tragic.

        An event in which a massive number of deaths occur may be seen as a tragedy. This is a factor that can be re-enforced by media attention or other public outcry.

        A tragedy is not necessarily an event in which massive death occurs. The death of a single person, e.g. a public figure or a child, may be seen as a tragedy. The person need not necessarily be famous.

        Joseph Stalin is quoted as having said “One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic.” Source: Wikipedia

      • Alan Alan March 23, 2013

        Your pathetic,you got what you wanted anyway a nice short sentence for a brother.His day will come some day.

  2. Delroy Wilson Delroy Wilson March 25, 2013

    There is no doubt this is a senseless tragedy and while I have reasonable doubts about the prosecution’s version of what happened, the simple fact that Furlong went into the room alive and came out dead, without a huge amount of drugs and alcohol in her system, points to Hinds complicity.
    Nevertheless, I have yet to see any substantial whatsoever to support the idea that Hinds intended to kill her.
    The prosecution’s version of events has it that Furlong started screaming because Hinds was in the process of trying to have sex with her and he wanted to quiet her down. Even if we believe every word of that version, there is no motive for Hinds to kill Furlong.
    I hope Hinds appeals. It remains tragic and gruesome that anyone would have their life taken from them in such a manner. But murder is murder, and intent is required. I don’t even recall the prosecution arguing anything that points toward intent.

    • Alan Alan March 26, 2013

      You hope he appeals,so you think the sentence is harsh even though he strangeled this young lady to death and then tried to blacken her name so he could get away with it,what is wrong with you people,I’m lost for words just hope he suffers really badly along with the other scum bag Blackston!

  3. Madelyn Rodelgio Madelyn Rodelgio March 26, 2013

    This was just senseless and tragic. To all those who think that this young man got off easy, he is in a foreign prison, doing 5-10, he is young so he will break a lot of rules and catch a lot of punishment, and he is so provincial — he probably never even left the South before.
    I would say to my young brothers and sisters, when leaving home, especially for the first time, never get too drunk, chatty, or unaware. And of course, never get high.
    And that goes out to my young black, white, yellow, red, brown brothers and sisters.
    And to those who are criticizing Black Tokyo, yeah, Black Tokyo, would of course look at issues from a Black perspective. Learn some of your history, i.e., Christopher Columbus, King Ferdinand, Pope , the Dominican order, the Exclusive, the British/French/Dutch/Danish West India Companies, Vasco da Gama, Jim Crow, Plessy vs. Ferguson, etc. and you will understand why there is such a thing as a Black perspective.

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